Published Sunday, 17 June 2012
UUP peer Lord Ken Maginnis made the remarks during a radio debate. (© Pacemaker)
Lord Maginnis spoke out in strong opposition to allowing same-sex couples to marry in church during a radio interview last Wednesday.
He referred to it as "unnatural and deviant behaviour" which shouldn't be "imposed" on society, telling the Stephen Nolan Show gay relationships were "a rung on the ladder" towards bestiality.
Mr Nesbitt met the UUP peer on Saturday to discuss the issue.
In a statement he said: "Concluding the meeting, Mr Nesbitt informed Lord Maginnis that he was withdrawing the Party Whip.
"While this situation pertains, any public comment made by Lord Maginnis, in the media or elsewhere, should not be considered to represent the views of the Ulster Unionist Party."
The party had previously moved to distance itself from Ken Maginnis' comments.
Mr Nesbitt added that he is "hopeful a resolution can be found to enable Lord Maginnis to again contribute to the Party's development".
Meanwhile the party said it held a meeting on Friday evening to discuss the leader's desire to affirm party policy on gay marriage.
A statement said: "There was unanimous agreement on the following position: While no legislation is pending in Northern Ireland, the matter of sexual orientation was addressed in the Northern Ireland Act of 1998 (section 75) and this enjoys the support of all parties to the NI Executive.
"The Ulster Unionist Party has long upheld a tradition of its Members being able to express their views and vote accordingly on matters of personal conscience.
"This is our position in respect to gay marriage."